South Dakota is blessed with a variety of volunteer community arts groups, statewide arts institutions and strong partnerships for arts education and artists. As important as these organizations are, the real strength for the arts in every South Dakota community starts locally, and it starts with one voice. Will that voice be YOURS?
In some towns, new arts experiences begin with historic preservation—like the saving and repurposing of an old opera house into a community performance venue. Other communities fill their schools with professional artists through the Artists In Schools & Communities program—and celebrate that creativity at concerts, art shows, theater productions and the dedication of new murals. Each community can do something, as long as one person is willing to speak for the arts.
Too often we become caught up in the whirlwind of daily life and think that one person can’t make a difference. But the growth of creativity throughout our state has proven that a single good idea from just one person can capture the imagination of the entire town. The arts are like that.
One teacher who challenges her students to create something beautiful might light the future for countless children. A single community concert that brings people from all over the region together to share a magical performance can kick off a regular schedule of events in area towns. One single arts residency might be just the push needed to remodel an old building into a crafts center or introduce new excitement into the school curriculum.
The power of one voice willing to toss a good idea into the local coffee conversation is incredible, especially in South Dakota communities. For every one person who thinks a new community arts experience would be welcomed, there may be dozens of other people who think the same way, but just haven’t expressed it out loud.
Is your community ready to follow the lead of one voice? Will that voice be yours?
For more about local advocacy and other Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
There’s an excitement in the air as students go back to school all across South Dakota. Today, in addition to the “Three Rs,” teachers and arts advocates focus on STEAM—science, technology, engineering, ARTS and mathematics. STEAM provides a pathway to teaching the connections among all curricular subjects and how they relate to everyday life.
An excellent example of STEAM education, connectivity and the fun of learning was the ARTsome Astronomy class taught by Sturgis educator DeVee Dietz and educational consultant Dr. Marie Steckelberg at our Arts Education Institute this year. Participants explored terrestrial celestial objects like planets, comets, moons and asteroids and integrated science and technology concepts with the elements of design to create a work of art.
“Our course emphasizes science inspiring art and art empowering science,” Steckelberg said. “It’s learning from a different perspective—not just an art thing or a science thing, but simultaneously making that connection to take art and science out of their silos.”
For most school-aged children in South Dakota, back to school means another year of making that connection to creativity. It may be band practice—an opportunity to make music with classmates. For some, it’s a regularly scheduled art class, with the sense of achievement that creating with color, form and line can bring. There are numerous opportunities schools give our kids to tap their inner creativity, from writing their first poems to learning the fundamentals of dance to exploring theater in a class play. And it all ties together in the STEAM educational approach.
We believe that art—tapping into a student’s creativity—should be a fundamental part of every single subject in school. We learn about ancient Greece and revolutionary America as much from the pictures, architecture and stories of those eras as we do from the recitation of historical data. The form and structure of a triangle are as artistic as the formula for finding its area mathematically. And the grace and agility developed on a basketball court may find their ultimate expression on a stage years later.
As we celebrate the season, with its new pencils, new shoes and crisp fall days, let’s also celebrate the excitement of having our kids making art. From kindergarten handprints to senior high watercolors, from a student’s first trumpet lesson to the winter concert and from that very first correctly spelled word to a short story, our students are connecting to the arts with a full head of STEAM!
To learn more about Arts South Dakota educational and advocacy programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
What do you love about your work? Is there one thing you can identify as your favorite part of your job? For me, the best part of my job is traveling throughout the state experiencing the talents of so many creative people in South Dakota—and discovering the unique artistic and cultural offerings available in every one of our state’s distinctive communities.
Wouldn’t it be great to find a single source with dates and times for those community arts and cultural events throughout South Dakota? That single source is available to you at ArtsSouthDakota.org with our FREE Arts South Dakota calendar!
Our interactive Arts South Dakota calendar lets you choose search parameters for dates or geographic areas, as well as your interest areas. You’ll find information, photos and lots more in the calendar, which is updated constantly. You can add events that your organization or community is sponsoring and let the whole statewide arts community in on the news.
The Arts South Dakota calendar is a clearinghouse for activities, news and events surrounding the creative life of our state. Because it’s constantly being added to by people like you, you should check it daily to find out what’s happening in your area or to plan fun family weekend adventures.
But you’re not limited to your own community or region. South Dakotans love a road trip, and the statewide reach of the Arts South Dakota calendar lets you plan multiple cultural escapades in different parts of the state. There’s lots of summertime left to explore the variety of cultural activities South Dakota has to offer—and fall is an even more action-packed season to experience our arts scene.
Share the news with your neighbors and friends—let them know there’s an easy-to-use online activity planner and cultural events bulletin board ready and waiting. Just go to ArtsSouthDakota.org and look for the Arts Events Calendar. And remember, if you’ve got an upcoming arts event that people all across South Dakota should know about, go to the Arts Events Calendar and follow the simple steps to post your event. Let’s all keep in touch—through the Arts South Dakota calendar. To visit the calendar or learn more about Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
We frequently discuss the benefits of the arts in South Dakota with an emphasis on the cultural, educational and entertainment value of creative performances, contacts and experiences. But that’s only part of the equation. The simple fact is that the nonprofit arts and culture industry is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, based on recent surveys conducted by the Sioux Falls Arts Council and the Rapid City Arts Council in partnership with Americans for the Arts.
The survey revealed that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $114.3 million in annual economic activity in the Black Hills Region, supporting 3,573 full time equivalent jobs and generating $10 million in government revenues. The Greater Sioux Falls area, composed of Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Turner Counties, supports 3,567 full-time equivalent arts and culture jobs and generates $8.6 million in local and state government revenue. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the Sioux Falls region spent $20.6 million during the study period and leveraged $84.8 million in additional spending by their audiences—dollars that pumped vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores and other local businesses.
Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.3 billion annually, according to the Americans for the Arts survey--$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations. Audiences spent an additional $102.5 billion in event-related expenditures, for lodging, meals and other purchases—an average of $31.47 per person. This economic activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments—a return on investment well beyond their collective $5 billion in arts allocations.
Arts and culture build community, enhance the education of our children and enrich our daily lives—and they are also a major American industry. Here in South Dakota, arts and cultural nonprofit organizations and events are generators of economic prosperity. As an integral part of the life of every South Dakotan, creative enterprise is a solid investment—an investment that pays dividends in business and in our state’s future. The arts mean business!
For the full Americans for the Arts study results or to learn more about Arts South Dakota, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
When it comes to arts and crafts festivals, community cultural celebrations, musical weekends and summer theater, South Dakota really is the land of infinite variety. Our state has a full calendar of cultural events, many of them happening within an easy drive from where you live.
As we discuss the future of the National Endowment for the Arts and its impact on rural states like South Dakota, it’s encouraging that the New York Times sent Michael Cooper to our state to interview arts organization leaders and citizens to assess that impact.
According to Cooper, “Mostly rural states like South Dakota could have outsize importance in deciding the fate of the endowment... South Dakota, which has fewer than a million people, received the fifth-highest amount of federal arts money per person in the nation last year, and the endowment’s generally small grants can have a bigger impact here than they would at the Metropolitan Operas of the world.”
The story talked about Shakespeare at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish; discussed the appeal of the Rolling Rez Arts, an airport shuttle bus that has been transformed into a mobile art classroom and art gallery for Pine Ridge and other reservations, and recent exhibitions at the Dahl Arts Center, which logs 35,000 visitors each year. Cooper also visited with the music director of the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, who pointed out that state arts council grants “supported concerts which drew some 5,700 people last year and school activities which reached more than 2,000 students.” Spotlighting these South Dakota arts organizations, each of which receive funding from the National Endowment through grants from the South Dakota Arts Council, the story clearly illustrates that many arts experiences would hot happen without the support of federal funding.
This kind of national attention for our creative scene is gratifying, and reminds us of the quality of the arts in South Dakota. It also underscores the value of the National Endowment for the Arts to our state. As the state which received the “fifth-highest amount of federal arts money per person in the nation last year,” we get an incredible return on our investment here in South Dakota. In fact, we spend 46¢ per capita—and receive $1.50 per capita back from Washington in the form of NEA grants. That’s sound business—and a resource we can’t afford to lose.
Your advocacy for this critical federal-state partnership that brings the arts and artists to young audiences across South Dakota is needed now! Let our leaders know that the NEA is vital to a creative South Dakota. To read the New York Times complete article, go to our Advocacy page at www.artssouthdakota.org/advocacy.html. To connect with our Congressional delegation or learn more about Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
As I think about the deep and lasting impact of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and South Dakota Arts Council in our state, friend and fellow musician Jami Lynn immediately comes to mind. I’ve worked with Jami on many occasions and she has often talked about her love of being a South Dakotan and joy in sharing her art “at home.”
Folk singer/songwriter Jami Lynn Buttke first gained an appreciation for music in a small South Dakota elementary school. Today she is a professional performer of bluegrass and folk music, and brings her exuberance and musical talent into state classrooms as a roster artist with the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists in Schools & Communities program. She believes in the power of the arts because of her own story of discovery.
“My personal experience with the Arts Council’s impact on our rural schools began at Koch Elementary in Milbank. I had probably seen a cello and violin on television because, although we only had four channels on the farm, one of them was PBS,” Buttke said. “But I had never seen or heard orchestra instruments in person until the South Dakota Arts Council helped bring a string quartet to our school for a lyceum. I was enamored with the sound, the style of playing and the music that echoed around our packed gymnasium. I had never experienced anything like it. The resonance of the strings, and how their sound vibrated in my chest, was life-changing. I didn’t know it yet but I was going to be a string player, and that experience in fourth grade was pivotal.”
Buttke finds that the magic and power of artists traveling to South Dakota communities is as strong today as when she was a grade school kid.
“The sound that comes out of elementary school kids when they see a banjo in person for the first time is excellent,” she said. “It’s one of those sharp inhalations of disbelief, like I’ve just done three back flips in a row. The sound kids make when they hold a banjo for the first time is silence. Most of them haven’t had the opportunity to see, hear or hold a banjo before, and it’s cool to see how it affects them. We need to make sure South Dakota students continue to discover music in this very personal way.”
Your advocacy for this critical federal-state partnership that brings the arts and artists to young audiences across South Dakota is needed now! Let our leaders know that the NEA is vital to a creative South Dakota. To connect with our Congressional delegation or learn more about Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
When a third grader in Kadoka discovers she can write a poem, when a junior high assembly in Britton hears live jazz for the first time and when an entire community turns out to admire their new Main Street mural, we know the arts are alive in South Dakota.
One reason those life-altering arts experiences are happening is that individuals—teachers, school administrators and community leaders—are working to connect with the programs that make sure the arts are accessible across our state. Another reason is the continued support of the South Dakota Legislature, realizing that the arts are vital to learning and to our cultural environment. But without the nurturing wellspring of federal dollars, brought to South Dakota through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, many of these experiences may not happen.
In rural states like ours, with hundreds of small communities spread throughout a large geographic area, a state arts agency like the South Dakota Arts Council is vital. The SD Arts Council combines the federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts with the matching funds from the South Dakota Legislature through the Department of Tourism to bring artists to schools and communities and touring arts programs to all corners of our state. Federal funding from NEA even helps to keep our cultural heritage alive, thanks to specific grants for traditional arts apprenticeships that ensure a new generation of flute makers, hoop dancers and prairie fiddlers.
Last year, the South Dakota Arts Council brought 51 artists to 100 communities for 220 weeks of residencies, connecting students and local residents with South Dakota’s working creative people. The Touring Arts program made possible 190 events in 165 communities, serving 22,725, including 12,332 young people. That’s bringing the arts to people in places where, prior to Arts Council programs, those opportunities did not exist.
We need to take steps to ensure that communities across South Dakota continue to have opportunities to meet artists, and that students are always able to learn they can become artists themselves. On March 21, SD Artist Laureate Dale Lamphere, SDAC’s Patrick Baker and Rebecca Cruse and I will be traveling to Washington, DC to share this important story with South Dakota’s Congressional delegation. Join us in letting our Congressional delegation know that, here in South Dakota, the support of the National Endowment for the Arts to our creative future is not a luxury, but a necessity.
To connect with our Congressional delegation or learn more about Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
Recently Americans for the Arts conducted a public opinion poll which provides an in-depth look at perceptions and attitudes about the arts in our country.
One of the most significant findings came in the question asking if people agree with the statement “Art institutions add value to our communities.” The survey showed 87% agree the arts are important to the quality of life, and 83% agree they are important to local businesses and the economy. And South Dakota proves those statistics.
South Dakota communities are proud of their unique identities, and promote their cultural heritage in creative ways. Heritage festivals and arts activities throughout the year make our hometowns family-friendly and culturally enriched. In addition, in many South Dakota towns, the local school is a community focus, with concerts, plays and performances of all kinds as major attractions that bring people—and dollars—to Main Street.
Galleries and gift shops are part of the cultural tourism industry that draws visitors to community events, one of the ways in which the arts add dollars to each local economy. The creative industry is strong in South Dakota, with artists and craftspeople enhancing the lives of their fellow citizens and paying taxes to support their home communities and state.
Throughout the state, professional musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, actors and so many more are building careers in South Dakota. Their connection to audiences and art lovers says something vital about our state and its support of our creative industry.
Another question asked for opinions on the statement, “The arts provide meaning to our lives.” In response, 73% agree the arts are a positive experience in a troubled world, 64% agree the arts give them pure pleasure to experience and participate in, and 63% agree the arts lift them beyond everyday experiences.
Whether it’s singing in the local choir, attending a play at the high school or taking in a concert by your favorite musician, the arts take you outside yourself. Our art experiences are personal, from creating a painting or playing an instrument to reading South Dakota authors. Pleasure and an escape from the ordinary are the gifts that art experiences bring to each of us. And sharing those experiences builds our cultural bond.
The arts transform people and communities every day. To learn more about how the arts impact all of our lives each day, browse more findings from the Americans for the Arts’ Public Opinion Poll at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/PublicOpinion. For more about Arts South Dakota, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.
Every two years, South Dakotans are given the opportunity to shine a spotlight on those individuals and organizations that have achieved significant accomplishments in the arts. The Governor’s Awards in the Arts dramatically illustrate the diversity, commitment and talent of South Dakota’s creative community.
Take the case of Ward Whitwam, this year’s awardee for Distinction in Creative Achievement. An architect and native of South Dakota, Whitwam designed the concrete tipis that mark our state’s rest areas on the interstate highway—a landmark for travelers since 1958, a source of pride for residents and a respectful homage to the state’s Native American heritage. His unique design and the engineering that made it come to life exemplify the artistic vision and Dakota pride shared by all the winners of the Governor’s Awards.
Governor Daugaard will present five awards on February 15 in Pierre. In addition to Whitwam’s creative achievement award, Steve Babbitt will be honored for Outstanding Service in Arts Education; Graham and Anna Marie Thatcher are this year’s recipients for Outstanding Support of the Arts by Individuals; Mobridge City Government will receive the award for Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Organization, and recently retired South Dakota Arts Council director Michael Pangburn will be given an honorary award for Outstanding Service to the Arts Community. The event will also highlight the Living Indian Treasure Award presented to nationally renowned flutist Bryan Akipa.
These honorees are chosen from dozens of nominations made by community arts leaders in every part of South Dakota. Nominees are artists, local arts advocates, corporate citizens who believe in our state’s creative future and educators who are ensuring that the legacy of arts education is part of every child’s day. All are hard at work throughout South Dakota, and all are worthy of recognition. Every two years, Arts South Dakota chooses a handful to spotlight, knowing there are so many more building our state’s cultural heritage.
These awards say as much about South Dakotans as they do about the quality of our creative environment. We honor our arts leaders and understand that their work makes our state a better place for all its citizens.
For more about the Governor’s Awards or other Arts South Dakota programs, join us online at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.